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Setting Realistic Goals — Why Not Me? Why Not Now?

Russell Wilson never lost the key question his father asked him, “Why not you, Russell?”  And Russell Wilson continues to ask his team, “Why not us?  Why not now?”

Russel Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, had a goal that he never wrote down.  He wanted to play professional football from earliest childhood. It was his passion. Russel’s father, instead of quoting him the dire, discouraging statistics about how few people ever really make it, asked Russell the question,

“Why not you, Russell?”

That question rocketed Russell Wilson to success despite his many limitations.

Here are the facts and limitations:

At 5’11”, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, is 4 to 8 inches shorter than most NFL players.  For Russell Wilson, launching a 20-yard pass that connects to a receiver downfield is amazing. Add to that seeing over a sea of 6 ft 6-inch players who can jump to almost 9 ft. tells the story of how hard it is to be a short NFL quarterback  Yet he has led the Seahawks to two Super Bowls and is one of the all-time best quarterbacks.

Here’s the way Russell Wilson’s passions played out:

At North Carolina State

  • Russell began his football practice at 4:30 am every day.
  • Attending class without fail with good academic standing
  • Practicing baseball in the afternoon
  • After long days, he kept up his studies
  • Russell graduated in 3 years.

At the University of Wisconsin:

  • He drove across the country to make spring training practice
  • He learned the Badger playbook in its entirety in less than a month.

At the NFL

  • Russell Wilson was literally looked down on in the draft because of his size
  • He wasn’t picked until the third round. He was the 75th player pick
  • Wilson reacted as an underdog with an “I’ll show them attitude.” He became a stellar performer for the Seattle Seahawks.
  • He challenged his fellow teammates with the question his father had asked him, “Why not us? Why not now?”
  • Wilson went on to lead his team to two Super Bowls.

Russell Wilson lost his father early to complications related to his diabetes, but Russell Wilson never lost the key question his father asked him, “Why not you, Russell?”  And Russell Wilson continues to ask his team, “Why not us?  Why not now?”

Making Goal-Setting Work

According to Brian Tracy, a goal guru, no more than 3% of people have written goals and no more than 1% look at them with any regularity.  Setting actionable personal goals is critical to success, yet I’ve found that setting personal goals is very difficult for most people to do.
Yet you can set goals and achieve them.

I think that the most misunderstood thing about goals is that they don’t begin with a keyboard writing down things you hope will happen–they begin in the part of us that generates an intense passion for the outcomes we absolutely want in life.

Personal passion is the fuel of the flame of successful goals. If you want to achieve your life goals, tap into your passions.

Most written goals fall into the class of “should do’s.” They almost always fail.  In order to achieve a goal, you have to tap into your experience as a child when you wanted a bicycle with every fiber of your being.  You have to tap into the same internal energy of when you were desperately determined to make a cut to get on the premier team.  Your passion has to be akin to when you longed for true love and that became a 24/7 obsession.  Goals that go down to your core are the only ones worth pursuing.

Written Goals–a Record of Your Passions

When Carol Kallendorf, Ph.D., and I got together (we’re business and life partners) one of the first things we did was to write our goals.  We actually read them together every morning at 5:00 AM.

These goals started as our passions before we ever put them on paper:

  • We were both focused on escaping poverty and homelessness in our present moment 🙂 Defining the amount we need to survive and thrive on is fundamental.
  • Both Carol and I wanted to create a successful business that would enable organizations to align and create high performance.
  • We both had health and fitness goals. I had grown up as one of the fat boys in my school years and always dreamed of maintaining a stable weight and high fitness level.  Carol joined me in that goal, developing excellent health.
  • Carol. as a child of 4 years old, had known that the only way to get out of poverty-stricken Aberdeen, Washington was to get an education, so she went on earn her Ph.D. at Duke, and at that point, she wanted to apply it as a facilitator and coach.
  • We wanted to create our own assessment and created the Delta 360-degree assessment with our own proprietary software.
  • We wanted to significantly impact poverty and started the Dream Come True Foundation, actually finding people we could work with to bring them out of poverty into a middle-class income.

Why Goal Setting Fails for Many People–and to Succeed

There are many reasons why goals fail.

There is a very real factor of goal rejection, not unlike heart transplant rejection.  We see our goals beginning to happen and success is like an organ transplant that the body wants to reject–it is lifegiving but threatening.  Achieving your goals has the unintended consequence of changing your life–and that is difficult for all of us to handle.  And so we sink back.

The only solution is don’t stop.

That’s why for Carol and me, the only thing we could do was to write, maintain, revise, update, and read our goals.  When we first began reading new goals, they sometimes seemed like lying to ourselves every day when we got up.  But they became real over time.  We are encouraged and focused, as we do the things that make the goals reality.   If you would like to learn more about making goal-setting work, call me.  512-417-9428.

May you achieve all your goals!

Austin, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

(512) 498-9780

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